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Trail and greenway design under road bridges

Trails along streams are often crossed over by highway and railroad bridges. These crossing points are often located where the stream narrows. The first challenge is to design a trail that goes under the bridge with enough headroom. The second challenge is to provide a bench for the trail on a narrow, steeply-sloping riverbank. Retaining structures and vertical concrete walls are typical solutions. Armoring the trail edge with rock is a common solution where the slope down to the water is moderate. Large culverts may also provide the opportunity to cross under major roadways with minimal expense. The normal flow is channelled through one or more culverts and the trail is built on a raised concrete bed through an outer box. In the case of smaller streams with lower bridges, the trail may have to be built below high water level. In recent years designers have been building flood walls between the trail and the stream, so that the trail surface is well below the typical flowing water level. See photos 11 and 12, and 17-19 for examples of this solution.

arrow See articles and resources on trail bridges and structures and more on greenways and riverways

Photos by Stuart Macdonald; click on any photo to see it full size:

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